About the role
My journey started off as an Agriculture Assessor. The assessor role evolved with the introduction of Standard from Frameworks, and the more fitting role of Skills Coach was adopted. About the same time, I began to move away from Agriculture into Agricultural Engineering. A move supported by the college, with CPD opportunities with manufacturers such as CLAAS and CNH. I now solely coach and mentor AgEng apprentices, which I thoroughly enjoy and pride myself with supporting the apprentices through to their end-point assessments, seeing their achievement gives me so much satisfaction.
More recently I have also had the opportunity to join the ‘Staff Voice’ Team as a representative for Reaseheath Apprenticeships, The Business Hub, Food and Business. This has strengthened my links across the college raising my profile, building relationships, and supporting the teams I represent.
The life of a Skills Coach certainly is a varied one. Your focus is facilitating a cohort of apprentices to help and support them through their Apprenticeship Standard, but you will find few days are the same. The role can have you at the apprentice’s place of work helping them gather evidence for their course, completing reviews and paperwork, invigilating exams and liaising with other members of the college, employers, mentors etc.
You manage your own time, organising reviews with apprentices and their employer mentors roughly every 4 – 8 weeks. You are responsible for tracking and monitoring their progress throughout their programme of learning, coaching and mentoring the apprentices to stay on track and succeed, and also ensuring they are able to meet their 20% off-the-job training. Throughout this you will be responsible for helping apprentices uphold their professional standards, behaviours and attitudes. This will involve liaising with the curriculum team to ensure a joined-up approach. In this role you will build a strong relationship between you, the apprentice and their work place mentor, and will be expected to support other areas such as the Functional Skills team and Learning Support team who may need to support your apprentice (if they require Maths or English/have a learning need).
At the college we also have a fantastic Wellbeing team who are there to help your apprentice and you with any worries etc.
Prior to COVID all of this could have taken place face to face. Fortunately, we have adapted and embraced technology to enable us to do most of this remotely, using platforms such as Microsoft Teams. Luckily, problem solving comes as part of the role, so we took this in our stride. This has meant the role has changed somewhat but will ultimately mean in the future we can get a perfect blend of the two. Having the skills to adapt to a changing environment in a positive manner is advantageous to this role.
Continual Professional Development (CPD) is available to you depending on the need. Some qualifications are expected of the job role, others are optional. For example, you will be given the opportunity to get your Maths and English Functional Skills yourself, teacher training (AET, CET & DET) and assessors award (TAQA).
This is truly a satisfying job role that I cannot deny comes with its challenges, and there is at times a lot to juggle, but absolutely worth it when your apprentices successfully achieve their personal attainment. One of the highlights of the year is Apprenticeship Awards evening where we all celebrate together!